Story telling from Australia
Millions of books are published each year but who’s reading them? A recent survey revealed one in four Americans didn’t read any books (ebooks included) last year. A staggering forty-one percent didn’t read a single novel. I don’t know if the picture is that different here in Australia. We’re writing more and reading less.
So instead of writing this week I’m reading (Margaret Atwood Oryx and Crake, thanks for asking) and instead of the usual post here’s a short story. A very short story, written years ago. If you’ve a mind for more there’s a long story on the new short story page (if you see what I mean).
‘Where were you?’
‘This afternoon, four o’clock. I rang.’
‘I don’t know, in a meeting probably.’
‘Your secretary said you were out.’
‘Then I was out! Misha, please, we’re here to enjoy ourselves.’
Nick scanned the crowded tables and sighed with the contentment of a righteous man—at precisely four o’clock that afternoon he had ended his affair with Jenny. Misha discovered her husband had been unfaithful when she found black curls clinging to his jacket, his trousers, even to his underpants. He’d insisted it was over and now, six months later, it finally was. But Jenny proved a tenacious lover, not so easily spurned. Revenge clung to Nick’s sleeve like the twisted filament of a broken light bulb.
‘Ladies and Gentleman, put your hands together for tonight’s star turn!’
Misha stared at her husband’s jacket, picked up from the dry cleaners the day before and now backlit by an arc of brilliant white light. The single strand of evidence waved gleefully.
She placed her drink on the table, careful not to spill any.
‘You’ve seen her again, haven’t you? Today.’
Nick smiled, suddenly nervous. ‘What?’
‘You said it was over.’
‘Babe,’ he purred. I told you, it’s over.’
‘So are we.’
Misha got up, Nick turned and Jenny’s legacy brushed against a burning candle. It flared incandescent, fizzed.
Then it was gone.